Air show draws people and attention to airport

| September 19, 2016

COSHOCTON – The weather was a little overcast for the 2016 Wings Over Coshocton Air Show, but that didn’t stop the acts from performing and the community from being wowed.

“It’s so amazing to have the F-18 Super Hornet Demo Team and I’m happy I get to stand this close to one,” said Lynn Jacobs, who was on the air show committee. “Top Gun was one of my favorite movies and I keep waiting for Tom Cruise and Goose to come out. The show just gets better every year.”

Andrea Schweitzer Smith, who coordinated the marketing for the air show, said it was very special to have the Super Hornet in Coshocton because they only perform 25 times per year.

Pilot Lt. Wallace Miller said he and his crew enjoyed their time in Coshocton.

“Everyone has been tremendously hospitable and we’ve really enjoyed being here,” he said.

The show was held Sept. 17-18 at Richard Downing Airport and included performances by the F-18 Super Hornet, the Misty Blues All Woman Skydiving Team, Jason Flood and his Pitts Special, Mike Vaknin and his Extra 300, Vlado Lenoch and his North American T-6, and The Aerostars Aerobatic team.  There also were vendors, static displays and a kids’ fun zone.

All of the performers were excited to be part of the show and so was the company that organized the acts.

“It’s great to be back in Coshocton,” said Phil Dacy from Dacy Airshows. “It’s a real pleasure dealing with Bethel and Connie Toler (from the airport) and bringing our special form of entertainment right here to this beautiful valley.”

Dacy Airshows presented the Tolers with a plaque as a way to show them how much they enjoyed working on all six of Coshocton’s air shows with them.  The presentation was made Friday evening Sept. 16 during the preview night of the air show that sponsors and special guests were invited to.

“I want to say thank you to everyone that is here tonight and worked on the air show, especially the sponsors,” Bethel said. “We wouldn’t be here without your generous contributions.”

He also expressed appreciation to the Coshocton County Commissioners.

“You wouldn’t see what you see either without them,” Bethel said. “They’ve helped us monetarily, backed us and believed in us that this is a tool for economic development. We have gone from three to five corporate jets coming in here to over 80 and everyone knows the NASCAR people are coming in here too. We leave them alone though because they take care of us and we know they come here to escape their hectic schedules and hunt.”

During the opening ceremony of the air show on Sept. 17, Commissioner Dane Shryock thanked all previous commissioners and members of the Coshocton County Regional Airport Authority Board for supporting efforts at the airport.

“Without their dedication this would not be happening here today,” he said. “We are consistently getting asked what government is doing to create jobs in Coshocton. We don’t create jobs. We help provide services and infrastructures that allow private businesses and entrepreneurs to create jobs. It’s not uncommon now to have aircrafts from Kraft, McWane, Wiley’s or Jones Metal and now we have NASCAR people flying in quite frequently. This is another tool in our toolbox that helps create jobs.”

Another government official who spoke at the air show was Congressman Bob Gibbs.

“A lot of parts on the F-18 here came from Ohio, a very innovative state with great people,” he said

This year’s two day air show held on Saturday, Sept. 17 and Sunday, Sept. 18, was dedicated in memory of Jim “Fang” Maroney. He performed at Coshocton’s first five air shows  and the last one he ever did before his untimely death was here in 2013.

“He was a true patriot and dear friend to those who knew him,” said Craig Casey, a former airport board member who personally knew Maroney. “It is with deep respect and fond memories that we dedicate the 2016 Wings Over Coshocton Air Show to his memory.”

Casey also was honored for his service to the airport with a plaque.

Serving as grand marshall of the show was U.S. Air Force Veteran James K. Kleinknecht.

“I’ve never been so honored,” he said. “Thank you from the bottom of my heart to whoever is responsible for this.”

Bethel said proceeds from the air show will help the airport with its proposed new corporate hanger that is estimated to cost $670,000, will hold three jets and be heated.

“A lot of business jets want to stay overnight or even for a week and if we don’t have the hanger for them they will go somewhere else. If we want to keep businesses here in Coshocton we have to keep their planes.”

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Category: Arts & Entertainment, Photo Galleries

About the Author ()

I started my journalism career in 2002 with a daily newspaper chain. After various stops with them, I am happy to be back home! I graduated from Coshocton High School in 1998 and received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication in 2002 from Walsh University. I also earned several awards while working for daily papers, including being honored by Coshocton County’s veterans for the stories I wrote about them. I am honored and ready to once again shine a positive light on Coshocton County. I also am the proud mother of a little girl named Sophia!

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